Where will your fear take you?
I think a lot about things that I would like to write; half shaped thoughts about the curiosities of life that dance around in the stage of my mind until, somehow, they seem to slip away into a faint memory of something that once was. That is the wonderful thing about thoughts though, don't you think? We have the power, somewhere beyond the immediate mind space, to let that shit go - as the saying goes, I think.
I've spent a good amount of time recently mulling Life (with a capital L) over with several friends, and acquaintances I don't yet know that well too come to think of it. The conversation always seems to come back to the same crux - fear.
Fear, fear, fear.
Perhaps the single most haunting thing to stand in the way of anyone and their life. The what ifs, the 'but I couldn't's, the impossible simply seeming, well, impossible.
When I was at school, I had this curious fear of public speaking. I don't know where it came from - I only ever seem to remember being quite an outgoing child before this point - but one day, I walked to the front of my class (French I believe... or perhaps it was History), and I simply couldn't speak. I opened my mouth, and nothing happened, and instead I just cried. I'm not talking cute tears, I'm talking big, fat, roll down the cheeks, gasping for air kind of tears. The kind of tears that, when you're in front of a class, aren't the kind you want to be falling out of your face.
As far as issues go, it wasn't huge, but it was enough to get in the way for a while, until the teachers stopped asking me to be the one that spoke and it then simply drifted away as one of those fading memories that you compartmentalise somewhere for safe keeping.
We're talking about a memory from perhaps, 15 years ago?
Last week, after months of practising and studying, I taught my first public yoga class. To say I was terrified was an understatement. I'm generally quite good in the face of fear, but even my normal technique of going over every scenario rationally in my head couldn't seem to shake it off, and then, when I thought things couldn't get any worse, that memory decided to reveal itself.
How had I forgotten? And oh boy, did this lodge a whole new sense of Fear (with a capital F).
But what if I still react that way when faced with a group of people in front of me? What if I start crying? What if? What if? What if?
I honestly thought that it would be the barrier between myself and the thing I've been aching to do since early 2017. This was going to be the breaking point. I even started googling, 'How to ease nerves', with the comedy response being, 'Do some yoga'. At least that put a smile on my face.
But do you know what? It was okay. Not excellent, not terrible, and I was completely okay with that. I forgot to tell everyone my name, I messed up the mirroring (doing the opposite way round when you're facing people to demo asanas), I spoke a bit too quiet, and then a bit too loud, I repeated phrases so many times - the list could go on. So what? You've got to cut yourself a break and celebrate the small victories in life, right? Otherwise, what. is. the. point?
I told my friend, who was coming for moral support, that I was aiming for survival and survive I did. I have this habit (that I used to think of as being non-attached but have come to realise it's more of a dis-attached approach... for another time maybe) of denying myself the space and time to really feel things, so I took a deep breath (quite a few in fact) and decided to delve in and see where that fear might take me, teetering on the edge of what felt comfortable. It's a cheesy one, but I'm quite into it, when they say that change happens at the edge of your comfort zone.
Take yourself there. Talk yourself through the worst possible consequences. Allow yourself to feel the fear and tip toe along the edge of what you feel comfortable with. Who knows what you are capable of? Who knows where it will take you? If you're scared, it shows you care - and there ain't nothing wrong with that.